In his first international outing representing England, Newark Amateur Boxing Club’s Sam Hardy was the youngest in his category. But that didn’t stop him ripping it up from start to finish in Georgia earlier this month when he boxed three times in a week at the EUBC European Schoolboys Boxing Championships.

And thanks to live streaming of the full event, his family, coaches and  fellow club members at home in Newark were all able to follow the 13-year old‘s progress in Tbilisi.

Fighting at 54kg, his first bout was against Mattia Prezzinga, a tough and unbeaten boxer representing Italy. Sam put pressure on his taller opponent in all three rounds, dominating throughout to take the victory by a unanimous decision which paved the way to a place in the quarter finals.

“Up against Ukraine’s Yehor Artomov, another taller opponent who looked pretty awkward in his earlier bout and on paper was one of the favourites, Sam at times made it look like just another day at the office,” said Suggy’s Gym head coach Dean Sugden. “Although Yehor kept trying, he came off second best in every round and another emphatic win saw Sam heading to the semi-final stage.”

Two days later, he walked out against three times Scottish champion Alan Perrie, a vastly more experienced opponent with 17 wins on his record. This was always going to be a tough task for the Newark boxer who had to get it tactically right from the start.

Although Sam went straight on the front foot, the opening round went to his bigger and older opponent who was able to pick the cleaner shots. “Making some adjustments going into the second, to those of us watching at home it looked as though Sam had nicked this one,” said Dean.

“After what was clearly his best round in the third, we were confident his would be the hand raised after the final bell. And although the decision went to Alan, who sailed to the Gold Medal in the final, the Scot was quick to declare that the bout with Sam had been his toughest to date.”

Coming home from Georgia with the Bronze Medal, Sam said: “I was proud to represent my country and test my skills against the best in Europe. I couldn’t have done what I did without the support of my family and friends, everyone at Suggy’s Gym and of course my sponsors JL Steel Structures, Best Cut Men’s Barbers, Majestic Roofing, Biison and JC Surfacing.

“Losing to Alan in the semi-final was disappointing but I would love to box him again, whether it’s here in the UK or at another championship event. Right now though, I’m looking forward to putting on a show for everyone in my home village next month when I’ll be boxing on the card of Newark ABC’s next Home Show in Farndon.”

“We’re all as proud as punch of Sam’s performance, both in and out of the ring,” added Dean. “His England coaches were every bit as pleased and quite clearly share our opinion that he has a very bright future.

“Sam’s been fighting out of Newark ABC since he was 10 and, with two consecutive National Championships to his name, his skill and dedication to his boxing career have never been in any doubt. But coming back to train at the gym just two hours after getting home from Georgia last week really underlines his commitment and shows what a great role model he is for all his fellow club members.”

Sam will be back in the ring on Saturday 14 September when he features on the card of the HOME SHOW 5 at Farndon Memorial Hall. Doors open at 5.30pm with the first bell at 6.15pm and tickets for the show, priced £15 for adults and £10 for under 16s, are on sale now at Suggy’s Gym or via the ticket hotline 07816 840920.

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